HT’s 6th Annual Free NYC Summer Concert Guide

The summer concert season is upon us and the Hidden Track staff knows that it’s virtually impossible for us to afford every show we want to hit, and still be able to pay our insanely expensive New York City rents. Luckily for us, there are a plethora of fantastic free concerts throughout the summer that don’t cost a dime. We decided to weed through all the listings and present to you our 6th Annual NYC Free Summer Concert Picks. Let’s take a look…

HT Recommends: Fuzz / Ex-Cult / Jonathan Toubin (DJ Set)

Where: Red Hook Park – Red Hook, Brooklyn

When: Thursday, June 6, 7:00 PM

Official Info: Releasing numerous records a year under his own name, Ty Segall has formed a new outfit, Fuzz, with Charlie Moonheart, who has played in his live band (they were also both in Epsilons). In Fuzz, Segall sings but is on drums and like their name implies, this is the kind of thick and heavy Rock that descends straight from Jimi Hendrix. The band’s debut single came out covertly, with no mention of the band members and sold out its initial vinyl pressing. Both songs, “This Time I Got a Reason” and “Fuzz’s Fourth Dream” are both flaming embers of molten rock that evoke serpentine head-banging and rage skyward on evil riffs.

Taking cues from the psychedelic noise of the 1960s, the art-damaged post-punk of the late 1970s, and the aggression and immediacy of early 1980s US Hardcore, Ex-Cult has curated a sound that audiences nationwide find accessible, yet not quite like anything else they’ve heard. Conceived at the legendary Memphis dive, the Lamplighter, by longtime friends Michael Peery and Chris Shaw, the band played their first show three months after the first practice, immediately gaining a local fan base and grabbing the attention of the Memphis punk institution known as Goner Records. After going through a name change and releasing a couple of now impossible to find singles, they headed to San Francisco to record. The result is a post-punk juggernaut, oozing with flying saucer fuzz guitar, a pummeling rhythm section, and snarling vocals.

Other Free Shows At Red Hook Park: 6/4 – The Flatbush Zombies / The Underachievers, 6/5 – Rakim, 6/7 – Comedy Central Live Presents Cristela Alonzo / Mark Normand

HT Recommends: The Dirty Guv’nahs

Where: Big Apple Barbecue & Block Party – Madison Square Park

When: Sunday, June 10, 4:30pm

Official Info: “Youth may be in their blood, but tradition guides their instincts”, reveals M! Music and Musician’s Magazine. “The Dirty Guv’nahs are wise in the ways of rock n’ roll beyond their tender years”. The swell of grassroots momentum for this 6-piece rock n’ roll collective from Knoxville, TN is undeniable. “The Guvs” have been steadily growing their fan base across the country, selling out shows in theatres and bars alike, and making standout festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, and SXSW, to name a few. The band has also shared the stage with a diverse and notable list of major artists, including Wilco, Zac Brown Band, Levon Helm Band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Train, Dr. Dog, and Chris Robinson.

After two independent releases and relentless touring, The Dirty Guv’nahs’ new album, Somewhere Beneath These Southern Skies (Dualtone Music) raises the bar significantly for this explosive ensemble. Somewhere Beneath These Southern Skies was recorded in Nashville, TN with producer Ross Copperman and Grammy winning engineer Richie Biggs (The Civil Wars).

Other Free Shows During The Big Apple Barbecue & Block Party: 6/8 – Spampinato Brothers / Barrence Whitfield & The Savages / Marcia Ball 6/9 – Myles Mancusco Band / Elizabeth Cook

HT Recommends: The Zombies / Django Django / Adam Green & Binki Shapiro / Modest P (DJ Set)

Where: Central Park Summerstage

When: Saturday, June 15, 6:00 PM

Official Info: Hailing from St. Albans, and originating in 1961, The Zombies are a legendary English Rock band.  Led by Rod Argent on piano and Colin Blunstone on vocals, the band scored US hits in the mid and late 1960s with “She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No,” and “Time of the Season.” Their 1968 album, Odessey and Oracle is ranked 80th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” In 2011, The Zombies released their fifth studio album, Breathe Out, Breathe In.  This latest album enhances the legacy of this monumental rock group with The Independent declaring, “…an authentic 1960s prog-pop tone is sustained through Argent’s surging organ and sly piano, combined with the layered harmonies of Blunstone, whose voice seems impressively unravaged by time.”

Coming together in 2009, Django Django is a British group that met at art school in Scotland and has its roots planted in London, England.  This adventurous Rock group melds indescribable electronic flourishes to live instrumentation.  Consisting of four members, Django Django’s debut self-titled album, has been voted by Rolling Stone Magazine as 26th in its “50 Best Albums of 2012” list.  Each track contains its own nation of harmonies, rhythms and textures.  Django Django’s story looks set to be a long and compelling one. By banging together their thirst for adventure and their exacting high standards, they’ve produced an album that seems to have everything, but on which everything never seems too much.

Just one listen to Adam Green & Binki Shapiro is enough to become enchanted. With deceptively pretty arrangements that echo the emotions of late-sixties Folk-Pop and an easygoing rapport between singers, this duet’s collaboration may seem like the perfect accompaniment to a sunny summer’s day, Southern-California style. But it works even better as a comforting soundtrack at the end of a dark, lonely night in the big city. The atmosphere the pair conjures up with strummed guitars and discreet layers of synths indeed suggests romantic possibility, but the lyrics are more sweetly melancholic, gently but candidly addressing betrayal, incipient heartbreak, and conjugal discord. It’s an approach that makes for compelling repeated listening, as the intimate dramas reveal themselves, and it’s one that surprised even Green and Shapiro as their self-titled debut album went on sale in January 2013.

A New Yorker by birth and Albanian by roots, deejay Modest P is best known for his long time Saturday night residency at the legendary East Village club Nublu. He is also known for being one of the founders of the seminal Easy Lover loft party and the now defunct Water Taxi Beach party in Long Island City, sharing the decks with world class DJs such as Carl Craig, Grandmaster Flash, Prins Thomas, and many more. He has performed at many venues in NYC and around the world. Modest P, or Petrit Pula as he is known by his real name also heads the Nublu record label.

Other Free Shows At Central Park Summerstage: 6/14 - Ask Me Another from NPR and WNYC, 6/18 – Airborne Toxic Event / The Calder Quartet with Orchestra, 6/21 – IAM / Rakim, 6/23 – Femi Kuti & The Positive Force / Sinkane / King Britt (DJ Set), 6/24 – Yasiin Bey (FKA Mos Def), 6/26 – Adam Devine / Anthony Jeselnik / Nick Kroll / Jeff Ross / Amy Schumer, 6/29 – Joel Plaskett / Spirit of the West / Brasstrounaut, 6/30 – Big Star’s Third: An Orchestrated Live Performance of the Legendary Album featuring  Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, Marshall Crenshaw, Pete Yorn, 7/10 – Tego Calderon / Cuatro Poder / Los Krakas, 7/11 – Lila Downs / Natalia Clavier / Pamela Rodriguez / Raul Campos, 7/13 – Julieta Venegas / Carla Morrison / Alex Andwandter, 7/14 – Fanfare Ciocarlia / Red Baraat / Joro-Boro (DJ Set), 7/16 – The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series, 7/20 – Planet Hemp / Gaby Amarantos / Emcida / Greg Caz (DJ Set), 7/21 – Oliver Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits / Fatoumata Diawara / Krar Collective, 7/27 – Lianne La Havas / LP / Quadron / DJ Center (DJ Set), 7/28 – Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth with Special Guests, 8/3 – Shirley Caesear / Rickey Dillard / James Fortune & F.I.Y.A. / Donald Lawrence, 8/4 – Raheem Devaughn / Lyfe Jennings & Special Guests, 8/10 - DJ Kool Herc and Special Guests, 8/11 – Shuggie Otis / Jose James / Hiatus Kaiyote / OP! (I Love Vinyl) (DJ Set), 8/20 – Bobby McFarin

HT Recommends: Color War / Psychobuilding

Where: Ace Hotel – Sunday Night Live

When: Sunday, June 23, 9:30 PM

Official Info: Every Sunday evening in the lobby, see live local and traveling musicians we think are awesome. These enchanted evenings are curated by Chris Tucci, who DJs before, between and after the live sets.  It’s like a really great mix tape.

Other Free Shows At The Ace Hotel: 6/9 – Color War, 6/16 – Color War / Jason Bartell, 6/30 – Color War / North America

HT Recommends: Unknown Mortal Orchestra / Bass Drum Of Death

Where: Seaport Music Festival – South Street Seaport

When: Friday, June 28, 7:00 PM

Official Info: Unknown Mortal Orchestra is Ruban Nielson, bassist Jake Portrait and drummer Riley Geare.

The band released their debut self-titled album in 2011 on Fat Possum Records. They quickly received critical acclaim including Pitchfork who gave the album an 8.1, describing that with “an expert use of space rare for such a lo-fi record, UMO manages a unique immersive and psychedelic quality without relying on the usual array of bong-ripping effects.”

In 2012, Unknown Mortal Orchestra announced that they had signed to Jagjaguwar and were working on their second full-length album. Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s sophomore album is titled II and was released on February 5, 2013. The first single from the forthcoming album, entitled “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)”, was first available as a 7″ on their tour with Grizzly Bear.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra has scheduled a 2013 world tour for their forthcoming album including this free show, destined to be a “do not miss” Seaport Music Festival show.

Other Free Shows At The South Street Seaport: 6/7 – Oblivians / Ex Cult, 6/14 – PAWS, 6/21 – Fear of Men

HT Recommends: 4Knots Music Festival

Where: South Street Seaport

When: Saturday, June 29, 1 PM

Official Info: Making its home at New York’s legendary South Street Seaport, The Village Voice’s 4Knots Music Festival will be back for its third year on June 29, 2013. Continuing the Voice’s 13-year history with live music showcases, 4Knots will showcasing renowned and emerging artists on today’s breaking music scene.

Working together with the Seaport, the festival will be located at this designated New York City historic district which features some of the oldest architecture in downtown Manhattan. The entire Seaport neighborhood is meant to transport its visitors back in time to the mid-19th century, to demonstrate what life in the commercial maritime trade was like. The name of the festival “4Knots” comes from this rich nautical history at the Seaport meaning “the speed of the waves as they meet at the Seaport in New York’s East River”.

HT Recommends: BB King / The James Hunter Six

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[Photo by Dino Perrucci]

Where: Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival – World Financial Plaza

When: Wednesday, July 10, 6 PM

Official Info: B.B. King is the “King of the Blues.” His complex yet readily identifiable guitar style, with precise vocal-like string bends and left hand vibrato, has become an indispensable component of rock guitar vocabulary. Over his long career, he has released more than 60 albums – many of which are considered blues classics – and his awards and distinctions are too numerous to list. They include 15 Grammy Awards, the prestigious National Medal of the Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors, and induction into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone ranked him at number six in its list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

James Hunter’s classic yet modern brand of rhythm and blues has earned him a Grammy nomination, two Billboard Blues #1’s, and tours with Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Van Morison, and many others. His latest album with The James Hunter Six, Minute by Minute, showcases a leaner and punchier sound with the same electric, soulful voice at the helm.

Other Free Shows During the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival: 7/11 – Los Lobos / Los Lonely Boys / Alejandro Escovedo

HT Recommends: Leon Russell

Where: Rive to River Festival – Rockefeller Park

When: Wednesday, July 10, 7:00 PM

Official Info: Leon Russell has spent nearly seven decades in music as a singer-songwriter, pianist, and guitarist. Originally renowned as one of the premier session musician in all of popular music, Russell was a longtime member of the famed studio ensemble known as The Wrecking Crew, and played with Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys and many others. Russell attained superstar status as the music director for Joe Cocker’s legendary 1970 tour Mad Dogs and Englishmen, followed in 1971 by his thrilling appearance with George Harrison and Bob Dylan at the Concert For Bangla Desh at Madison Square Garden. Russell was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after producing a Grammy-nominated album with Elton John in 2012.

Other Free Shows At The River To River Festival: 6/13 – Brasslands, 6/16 – Bang on a Can, 6/18 – Dana Leong Trio, 6/20 – Sam Green / The Quavers / yMusic, 6/21 – Chassol, 6/23 - JG Thirlwell, 6/23 – Pauline Oliveros, 6/23 - Susie Ibarra and Roberto Rodriguez, 6/25 – Angelique Kidjo,  6/25 – James Maddock, 7/2 – Jeffrey Broussard, 7/2 – Pedrito Martinez, 7/9 – Clyne, Dufallo, Kauffman & Dorman,  7/11 – Hauschka, Kosminen, and Zeigler, 7/11 – Hungry March Band, 7/13 – So Percussion and The Joshua Light Show

HT Recommends: !!! / Jacques Renault / Special Guest TBA

Where: House Of Vans – 25 Franklin St, Brooklyn

When: Thursday, July 18

Official Info: It’s that time of year again! We’re back at it at the House of Vans with the third annual Vans x FYF House Parties. The first show of the summer kicks off Thursday, June 27th with Fucked Up, Title Fight, and Hop Along, with more rad parties to follow.

All shows are all-ages and free with RSVP, but get there early to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun. RSVP for the first show opens up June 11th. Stay tuned to vans.com/houseparties for the full schedule and RSVP info!

Other Free Shows At The House Of Vans: 6/27 – Fucked Up / Title Fight, Hop Along, 7/11 – Toro y Moi / Shlohmo /Jonwayne, 7/31 – The Melvins / Baroness / Honky, 8/15 – Kid Dynamite / Joyce Manor / Red Hare / Swearin’, 8/29 – Les Savy Fav / Delorean / Plus Special Guest

HT Recommends: Mikal Cronin

Where: MoMA Nights – Sculpture Garden

When: Thursday, July 25, 5:30 PM

Official Info: Each Thursday evening in July, MoMA Nights features an up-and-coming band selected by MoMA’s PopRally committee. PopRally is a program of events organized by a cross-departmental committee and held at MoMA and MoMA PS1.

The expertly crafted garage-pop of Mikal Cronin, shot through with the warmth of the California sun, features infectious tunes and earnestly personal lyrics. He released his second full-length album, MCII, this spring on Merge Records after touring the United States and Europe in the band of his old pal Ty Segall, with whom he has collaborated for close to a decade. Rooted in self-exploration in the face of new beginnings, Cronin’s music turns inner turmoil into effervescent pop. His compositions deftly move from acoustic strumming to full-on fuzz-pedal freak-outs, channeling both the indie-folk sounds of Elliot Smith and the loud dynamism of Nirvana. This summer Cronin is touring the United States and is featured on the line-ups of Toronto’s North by Northeast Festival and the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.

Other Free Shows At The MoMA: 7/4 – Ex Cops, 7/11 – TEEN, 7/25 – Ducktails,

HT Recommends: The Lone Bellow / The Low Anthem / Joe Pug

Where: Celebrate Brooklyn! – Prospect Park Bandshell

When: Saturday, July 20, 7:00 PM

Official Info: Breakout stars The Lone Bellow favor the term “Brooklyn Country” for the liquid smooth harmonies and heartfelt songwriting that have captivated fans and critics alike to make them one of the hottest bands of 2013. Of The Lone Bellow, NPR said: “The world of acoustic music is about to get a new household name.” Joining them are revered indie Americana outfit The Low Anthem, sporting a reconfigured lineup and new take on their timeless sound, and the Arkansas-born singer-songwriter producer and one-man record label Joe Purdy, who creates “gorgeous, beautifully-rendered acoustic-based folk songs—pop music with a gently-rounded edge.”

Other Free Shows At The Prospect Park Bandshell: 6/5 – Patty Griffin, 6/8 – Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (for Kids) with Winton Marsalis, 6/13 – Grouplove / Alpine, 6/14 – Mavis Staples / Cody ChesnuTT, 6/15 – Calexico / Susana Baca / Radio Jarocho & Akoko Nante Ensemble, 6/20 – Big Boi / Phony Ppl  / D-Nice, 6/21 – Amadou & Miriam / Bombino, 6/28 – Ladysmith Black Mambazo / Aurielo Martinez, 6/29 – Os Mutantes / Javelin / Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang, 7/6 – Theophilus London / Les Nubians / Aabaraki, 7/12 – Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich & Fussible / Mexican Institute of Sound / Mariachi Flor de Toloache, 7/13 – Dracula with the Philip Glass Ensemble / Kishi Bashi, 7/18 – The Tiger Lillies: Rime of the Ancient Mariner / Cynthia Hopkins, 7/19 – The Waterboys / Alasdair Roberts, 7/25 – BeBe Winas / Alicia Olatuja, 7/26 – Trampled By Turtles / The Devil Makes Three / Brown Bird, 8/2 – Jamie Lidell / Dan Deacon / The Stepkids, 8/3 – Eddie Palamari Orchestra / Banda Magda, 8/9 – Shaggy / TK Wonder, 8/10 – They Might Be Giants / Moon Hooch

HT Recommends: Foxygen / Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Where: River Rocks – Pier 84

When: Thursday, July 25, Doors 6 PM

Official Info: Foxygen is the bi-coastal duo of Sam France and Jonathan Rado. Their hyper-real portrait of psychedelic sounds calls to mind 60’s era Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and David Bowie.

San Francisco based Thao Nguyen has worked with a long list of acclaimed artists including Andrew Bird, Mirah, and Laura Veirs and has released two critically acclaimed records with her backing band the Get Down Stay Down

Other Free Shows At Pier 84: 7/11 – Generationals / Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside / Waxahatchee, 8/8 – Titus Andronicus / Ducktails

HT Recommends: Hurray For The Riff Raff / Martha Redbone Roots Project / Trixie Whitley

Where: Damrosch Park Bandshell – Lincoln Center Out Of Doors

When: Saturday, August 10, 1 PM

Official Info: Hurray for the Riff Raff is Alynda lee Segarra, a 25 year old Puerto Rican from the Bronx. After leaving home at an early age to travel the country, she eventually settled in New Orleans where she began to perform and record with a revolving cast of musicians. She released two records (2008’s It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You and 2010’s Young Blood Blues) mostly consisting of delicate folk and country songs. In 2011, the UK record label Loose Music (Felice Brothers, Dawes, Deer Tick), released Hurray for the Riff Raff, an album that collected the best songs from those records. The Times of London named Hurray for the Riff Raff one of the Top Ten Albums of 2011. Phil Alexander, the Editor-in-Chief of Mojo Magazine, raved that they “have immense potential and seductive power” and named them second best band at SXSW 2011.

Back in the States, Alynda and her longtime gunslinger on fiddle, Yosi Perlstein, met up with a young honky-tonk band called the Tumbleweeds, just as Alynda began to expand her musical palette to include rock n roll, pop, and soul. In the tradition of Bob Dylan with Band and Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Alynda and Yosi recruited the Tumbleweeds to be their touring band, drastically altering the sound of Hurray for the Riff Raff.

Look Out Mama is the result of almost two years of Alynda and the Tumbleweeds criss-crossing the USA, playing over 100 shows in small bars and clubs. Recorded in Nashville by producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes), Look Out Mama is an exploration of classic American music as interpreted by Alynda lee Segarra. From the Swamp Pop of “Little Black Star” to the Classic Country of “Look Out Mama”, to the Psychedelia of “Ode to John and Yoko” and even the Surf-Rock of “Lake of Fire”, Look Out Mama covers a wide array of musical ground, with every song unified by Alynda’s soulful vocals and expert songwriting.

Other Free Shows At Damrosch Park Bandshell: 7/24 – Red Hot + Fela Live! featuring Tony Allen and Superhuman Happiness, 7/25 – My Brightest Diamond / Emily Wells / Kronos Quartet, 7/26 – Kronos Quartet / The Gloaming, 7/27 – OzoKidz / Dan Zanes & Friends: Tribute to Lead Belly, 7/27 – Ozomatli, 8/3 – La Casita, 8/7 – Ruben Blades, 8/8 – No BS! Brass Band, 8/9 – Vau de Vire Society / Hungry March Band, 8/9 – Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra / Rosin Coven, 8/10 – Nick Lowe / The Crickets: Farewell Show / Jason Isbell, 8/11 – Bobby Rush / Allen Toussaint / Brian and Eddie Holland / Como Mamas

HT Recommends: Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk

Where: Madison Square Park – Oval Lawn Series

When: Wednesday, August 7, 7:00 PM

Official Info: A decade evolved from their debut at 2003′s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Dumpstaphunk offers fans an unforgettable live experience steeped in the Big Easy tradition of a good time. The quintet features Ivan Neville on vocals, B3 and Clav, the double bass attack and soulful voices of Tony Hall and Nick Daniels III, Ian Neville on guitar, and the monster addition of Nikki Glaspie on drums and vocals.

From annual performances at New Orleans’ Jazz Fest — “The colossal low end and filthy grooves they threw down from the Gentilly Stage must have set a Jazz Fest record for baddest bass jams ever.” (Bass Player Magazine, 2012) — to music rooms and festivals across the nation (Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, All Good, High Sierra, Summer Camp, Hangout, Jam Cruise and Outside Lands), Dumpstaphunk continues to spread an unmistakably New Orleans groove with hard-hitting performances that dare listeners not to move.

Dumpstaphunk’s summer 2013 release, Dirty Word, re-imagines their genre, holding true to the opinionated, vintage funk of Sly & the Family Stone and Parliament Funkadelic, but with a modern edge that forays into gospel, blues, second-line, R&B and straight-up rock n’ roll. True to New Orleans tradition, Dumpsta’s friends and family Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Rebirth Brass Band, Skerik, the Grooveline Horns, Art Neville, Ani DiFranco and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers kick the Dirty Word sessions up a notch.

Other Free Shows at Madison Square Park: 6/19 – Suzanne Vega, 6/26 – Anat Cohen Quartet, 7/3 – The Grascals / Joy Kills Sorrow, 7/10 – Rene Marie’s “Experiment In Truth”, 7/17 – Ben Sollee, 7/24 – Dafnis Prieto Sextet / Yosvany Terry Quintet, 7/31 – Erin McKeown / Lake Street Drive

HT Recommends: Shuggie Otis

Where: R&B Festival at MetroTech

When: Thursday, August 8, 12 PM

Official Info: Irony is a part of life. Though the music business may at times have nothing to do with “real” life, irony is a part of the biz. Just ask singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Shuggie Otis. Shuggie Otis, for those not familiar with him through David Byrne’s heroic disinterment of his 1974 album, Inspiration Information or through his authorship of the wonderful Strawberry Letter 23 – is the son of legendary R `n’ B bandleader Johnny Otis. A musical prodigy he was playing with his father by the time he was 13 and from the word go displayed an uncanny mastery of the blues guitar.

He wrote “Strawberry Letter 23,” a gold single for the Brothers Johnson that went to number one R&B and number five pop in spring 1977. George Johnson was dating one of Otis’ cousins who gave him a copy of Otis’ 1971 Epic LP, Freedom Flight. Immediately, Johnson liked “Ice Cold Daydream” and “Strawberry Letter 23.” The duo recommended it to their producer, Quincy Jones, and recorded a cover version that sticks pretty close to Otis’ original version of “Strawberry Letter 23.” By the time “Strawberry Letter 23″ was a million-seller, Otis had been dropped from Epic three years earlier. The 24-year-old guitar virtuoso was sure he would get a new record deal. Ironically, the record executives would be impressed that he wrote a million-selling song, but they weren’t interested in anything else he’d done. Disillusioned, Otis dropped out of the music business before returning to it in the late `80s, playing with his father, Johnny Otis’ band. Later the axiom “good things come to those who wait” took effect. Spurred by sales and critical kudos of reissues of his 1974 Epic LP, Inspiration Information, from Sony Music Special Projects and David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, Otis performed “Strawberry Letter 23″ on May 2001 appearances on Conan O’Brien and David Letterman.

Though in recent years he has chosen to remain out of the spotlight, he continues to be revered through musical circles, as evidenced by his 2009 performance with Mos Def in LA. Feb 2013 sees the re-release of Inspiration Information via Sony distribution, complete as a double album package with a set of sought after unreleased masters. He will perform his first live dates outside America in over 20 years.

Other Free Shows At MetroTech: 6/6 – Mint Condition, 6/13 – Bobby Rush, 6/20 – Zozo Afrobeat Orchestra, 6/27 – Stooges Brass Band, 7/3 – Avery*Sunshine, 7/11 – TBA, 7/18 – Fatoumata Diawara, 7/25 – TBA, 8/1 – Shelia E.

HT Recommends: DJ Spinna and Special Guests / Screening: Hotter Than July

Where: Marcus Garvey Park

When: Sunday, August 11, 7:00 PM

Official Info: Fifty years ago, the legendary Stevie Wonder released his first single “Fingertips”, which reached number 1 on the BillboardPop Singles and R&B charts and launched his career. In celebration of this seminal release, SummerStage and ImageNation present an evening dedicated to one of Wonder’s historic music moments, his Soul Train performance. In this legendary episode of Soul Train, Wonder reinvents the Soul Train theme song. Taking from his inspiration, presenting partner Injoy Enterprises has guest-curated performances by a team of talented musicians and singers who will put their own personal spins on Wonder’s hit songs. “Hotter Than July” A Soul Train Tribute to Stevie Wonder will feature: Mika, Gloria Ryann, Asa Lovechild, Darien, Mike Hammond, Chris Robb, and Vivian Sessoms, all backed by the funk band Jesse Fischer & Soul Cycle with with DJ Spinna.

DJ Spinna is an extraordinary deejay, producer, re-mixer, and music historian possessing a remarkable mix of musical abilities. He went on to become a cornerstone of Hip-Hop’s golden era providing the musical canvas for lyrical giants like Eminem, Mos Def and Talib Kweli. A producer of timeless classics and collaborator with hip-hop legends like Brand Nubian, Masta Ace, Guru, and The Jungle Brothers, he also built a reputation as a crucial re-mixer reworking major label hits for the likes of De La Soul, Mary J. Blige, George Michael and a hard-driving soulful remix of Michael Jackson’s “We’re Almost There.” A protégé of Stevie Wonder, audiences will often find him travelling and performing with the artist.

“Hotter Than July” is a rare BBC documentary that examines Stevie Wonder’s musical insight and preparation for his 1980-1981 USA tour. Infused with personal interviews, backstage antics and an appearance at the Washington Rally to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr and more, this film gives intimate insight into one of music’s most celebrated stars.

Other Free Shows at Marcus Garvey Park: 8/6 – Jungle Brothers / Zhigee, 8/7 – Bilal, 8/8 – Tye Tribbett, 8/23 – World Premiere of Bird Is The Word by The Jimmy Heath Big Band, 8/24 – Kenny Garrett / Cecile McLorin Salavant / Kim Thompson / Jaleel Shaw

HT Recommends: 1st Annual Hot Strings Fest – Cynthia Sayer, Tony Trischka, Andy Statman and Michael Daves

Where: Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival – 155 Varick St. @ Vandam

When: Tuesday, August 13, 5:00 PM

Official Info: City Winery is proud to announce the 5th Annual Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival – a fun, FREE “After-Work Backyard Party” held every Tuesday from June 4th through August 27th, from 5:00PM-7:30PM!

Food and beverages will be available for purchase – there will be an assortment of wines from City Winery, ice cold beer from Radeberger, and food offered by Great Performances.

The 5th Annual Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival features a diverse selection of live, multi-genre concert performances by both well-known and up-and-coming artists performing rock, folk, jazz, Latin, R&B, and world music!

Other Free Shows at the Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival: 6/4 – Dave Davies, 6/11 – Los Straightjackets, 6/18 – The English Beat, 6/25 – Ben Taylor, 7/2 – The Pietasters, 7/9 – Eileen Jewell / The End of America, 7/16 – Tim O’Brien, 7/23 – Tulipa Ruiz, 7/30 – Rasputina, 8/6 – Early Elton: A Tribute to Early Elton John, 8/20 – The Lost Bayou City Ramblers, 8/27 – Carolyn Wonderland / Sasha Dobson

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2 thoughts on “HT’s 6th Annual Free NYC Summer Concert Guide

  1. jg Reply

    Wow, nicely done Jeff!

    • Jeffrey Greenblatt Reply

      Thanks! Hopefully I’ll see you at some of these this summer.

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